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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Diamond Jubilee: Arts A-list gathers for the Queen

Rock star Bono praised the Queen for her visit to the Republic of Ireland last year The Queen is meeting hundreds of leading cultural figures at one of the most glittering gatherings of actors, writers and artists the UK has seen. Sir Derek Jacobi, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Paul McCartney and David Hockney were among the 850 luminaries due at the reception to mark the Diamond Jubilee. Bono and Alan Bennett also attended the event at London's Royal Academy, along with rapper Tinie Tempah. The Queen is to have her photograph taken with 30 artistic dames. 'Huge fan' They will include soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, artist Dame Paula Rego and, from the acting world, Dames Joan Plowright, Janet Suzman, Diana Rigg and Harriet Walter. Apple designer Sir Jonathan Ive was invited, just hours after receiving his knighthood. Fashion luminaries, including Dame Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Jasper Conran and Zandra Rhodes, were asked to bring a model dressed in their creations. Irish musician Bono, actress Joan Collins and Sir Paul led the praise - the former Beatle said he was a "huge fan" of the Queen. Continue reading the main story “Start Quote I think they are a social cement and the job she does is incredible” Dame Vivienne Westwood on the Queen There were cheers when Bono praised the Queen for making her trip to the Republic of Ireland last year. He joked: "And the Queen spoke Gaelic, I can't even speak Gaelic." In another room the Queen met Dame Shirley Bassey and Joan Collins. "I'm such a great admirer of her," said Ms Collins. "I always want to know what she keeps in the handbag." The event will see the Queen present five special Diamond Jubilee Awards to young "artists of the future". The citations are being delivered by David Hockney, Sir Jonathan, Sir Derek, Dame Kiri and choreographer Matthew Bourne. This is the second time in two days that the Queen has met Mr Hockney, as on Tuesday she presented him with an Order of Merit at Buckingham Palace. Grayson Perry, David Bailey and Sam Taylor-Wood are among the representatives of the art world. 'A good 60 years' Pop artist Sir Peter Blake, who designed the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album cover, said it had been "an exciting 60 years" for British culture. Speaking on the red carpet, Dame Diana Rigg said the occasion was "absolutely wonderful". Asked whether there had been a golden age for British culture, she said: "I think Britain continually improves itself and redefines itself. "This year happens to be particularly special, with the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics at the same time. I think an entirely new, brilliant Britain is going to emerge." Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell Sir Paul McCartney arrived at the Royal Academy of Arts with his wife Nancy Shevell Stars of stage and screen on the guest list include Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Maureen Lipman, Joanna Lumley, Tom Courtenay, Richard Briers and Martin Clunes. Actress Maureen Lipman explained what the occasion meant to the British arts: "There'll be a bit of lobbying, there'll be a lot of networking, there'll be a lot of chat and we all love the Queen. And we hope it benefits the arts." Playwrights including Sir Tom Stoppard, Mike Leigh and Sir Ronald Harwood will rub shoulders with the theatre directors Sir Trevor Nunn, Sir Peter Hall, Sir Nicholas Hytner and Sir Richard Eyre. They join novelists including Julian Barnes, Michael Morpurgo and Philip Pullman. Dame Vivienne, who rose to fame in the punk era, said she had changed her view about the monarchy since the 1970s. "At one time I thought the Queen represented all the political hypocrisy of England," she said. "I realised they're above politics. I think they are a social cement and the job she does is incredible."

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